Month: July 2022

Arizona Cardinals QB, Kyler Murray Signs $230.5 Million Extension, Could Forfeit Every Dime if he Doesn’t do Film Study

By Scott Mandel

I am as bored and shocked with the kinds of contracts non-elite players who have won nothing are being offered these days. A new one just popped up that turns out to be absurd, not only in the numbers versus the performance of the athlete but in the embarrassing requirements stipulated by the contract.

Kyler Murray, the highly overrated 5‘8“ quarterback of the Arizona Cardinals who is probably in the middle range of NFL quarterbacks (10-15), was offered a 5-year, $230.5 million extension to continue his non-star performances, a contract that includes quite possibly, the most juvenile clause in professional sports history.

Apparently, Kyler Murray has difficulty doing the prep work required of an NFL quarterback, which always includes hours upon hours of film study of all opposing teams, breaking down their weaknesses that can be exploited in upcoming games.

Signed a 5-year contract extension

“I’m not one of those guys that’s going to sit there and kill myself watching film. I don’t sit there for 24 hours and break down this team and that team and watch every game because, in my head I see so much.” That was Kyler Murray recently.

The clause in question? Murray is required, contractually to “do his homework,” or risk having the contract canceled, all $230.5 million of it.

Murray will be required to do at least four hours of “independent study” before each week’s game. This study material will be provided by the team, and time spent in team meetings for normal game prep does not count toward the four hours. Yes, this is a real thing.

To earn those four hours of weekly credit, the team will monitor Murray’s iPad usage to ensure he avoids activity that might “distract his attention” (actual contract language!) while he does this independent study.

This sounds perfectly fine for a middle-school assignment. I’ll even allow a tightly run college sports program. But this? For adults? Absurd. The amount of suspicion and mistrust baked into this contract — which could default, by the way, if Murray fails to adhere to the homework, is enormous. And embarrassing.

Two true things: It’s a bad look for Murray for obvious reasons, and an equally bad look for the Cardinals, who were concerned enough about Murray’s preparation to put this juvenile clause in.

This poor kid will be hearing about it from fans in opposing stadiums this entire season. Murray is at risk of approaching former Steelers quarterback, Terry Bradshaw, of whom an NFL opponent once said, “Bradshaw couldn’t spell cat if you spotted him the C and the A.”

Mandel’s Musings: Matt Carpenter May be the Joe Hardy of This Generation (look up Joe Hardy, young’ns)

by Scott Mandel

Matt Carpenter, the long-time Cardinals star, was out of baseball at age 36. He had lost his swing. He couldn’t hit anymore. It was time to pack up his stuff and go home.

A month before he became a multiposition sensation for the best team in baseball, the New York Yankees, Carpenter planned his retirement tour. He had told himself before the season began that if after a month with the Texas Rangers’ Triple A affiliate, the Round Rock Express, he had not been promoted to the major leagues, he would go home and spend time with his wife, Mackenzie, and their two young children.

Six weeks in, Carpenter realized no call-up was imminent.

On May 19, he requested his release from Round Rock, and he drove home to Fort Worth, where he parked himself on his couch. His agent emailed about half the league, letting them know his client was available, but Carpenter had made peace with an unceremonious end to an 11-year career in which he made three All-Star teams, won a Silver Slugger at second base and four times received MVP votes.

Two months later Carpenter sits in the Yankees’ dugout and cocks his head. “The thing that’s so confusing to me,” he says, “is that nobody responded [except] the best team in baseball.”

That’s not quite right: A few teams, including Atlanta and the Red Sox, reached out but could only offer spots in Triple A, and Carpenter had already decided he “wasn’t just gonna put my family on the back burner to play minor league baseball,” he says. Still, New York was the only team that was prepared to add him to the major league roster immediately.

Carpenter was ready to hang it up rather than continue to play in the minor leagues

Tonight, by some sheer miracle, Matt Carpenter, now of the New York Yankees is playing in his 30th game as a Yankee. Tonight, he has so far hit two home runs against the Boston Red Sox at Yankee Stadium in front of a packed house. Carpenter’s 12th and 13th homers in these 30 games just set a franchise record. No other Yankee player, and that includes Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Joe DiMaggio, and Mickey Mantle, in history had ever hit that many home runs in their first 30 games.

Welcome back to baseball, Matt Carpenter. Maybe Joe Hardy from Damn Yankees really does exist. Hardy made a deal with the devil granting him one last wish. Maybe Joe Hardy, I mean Matt Carpenter wished to become a Yankee. And, to become the biggest star in New York, hell, in baseball, for one last half season of the thrill of his lifetime, before old Matt Carpenter goes back home.

Mandel’s Musings: The “Sad” Stories of Freddie and Casey (Grownups with kids names)

by Scott Mandel

You may have heard about the Atlanta Braves baseball superstar, Freddie Freeman, leaving Atlanta to take gazillions of free agent dollars to play for the Dodgers under a contract that should take him to the end of his career.

Apparently, the Dodgers were not his first choice. Mr. Freeman preferred taking those gazillions of dollars from his former team, the Atlanta Braves where he began his big league career except that his agent, Casey Close, allegedly did not tell Mr. Freeman about the Braves last big contract offer. Close instead, was said to have kept the Braves offer a secret, choosing to advise his client to accept the Dodgers offer of 6 years,, $162 million before they took it off the table. Making it even worse for Freeman was his discovery that Braves offer turned out to be much more lucrative than the Dodgers, given the exorbitant California tax code and the level of deferred payments his agent built into the Dodgers deal.

Upon finding out about his agent’s alleged malfeasance, Freddie fired Casey. (Yes, these are grown men named Freddie and Casey).

Will Gary Busey play Freddie Freeman in the next movie?

More fascinating than Freddie the first baseman’s career choice and apparent inability to properly communicate with the person responsible for negotiating the next six years of his professional life is the fact his now former agent has been a respected player rep who not only was Derek Jeter’s agent for many years when Jeter played for the Yankees, but is also married to the former Miss America, former Fox News anchor, and former apple of Roger Ailes’ eye, Gretchen Carlson.

Carlson, victimized by Ailes and the Fox News culture towards women in the work place, has been a high-profile advocate for equal rights and equal pay for women since Ailes asked her to raise the hem of her skirt in his office while standing up and spinning around for him. She was played in the movies by Naomi Watts in The Loudest Voice and Nicole Kidman in Bombshell. We’re all looking forward to seeing who plays her husband, Casey Close in the inevitable Derek Jeter bio pic that gets made someday. But who will play Gretchen, again?

Or Freddie Freeman? Gary Busey?

Mandel’s Musings: Yankees, With Historic Won-Loss Record, Will NOT Defeat Astros in the Playoffs

By Scott Mandel

The Yankees, the best team in baseball, is not built to win a World Series. Today they got one hit against the Cleveland Indians. Yes, the Tribe, wokesters. Their lineup has not proven it can succeed against very good pitching, which is what they will face in the playoffs.

The Houston Astros have the best starting pitching in the game. It can shut down any lineup. They recently shut down the Yankees and it wasn’t even close. The Yankees are better than Houston. Houston will defeat them, as currently configured, in the playoffs. Again.

If the Yankees add a contact hitter or two to this roster, someone like Kevin Benintendi from the Kansas City Royals to play the field and bat .300, Yankees will have a much better chance of winning against good pitching.

At the moment, Joey Gallo, poor Joey Gallo, is manning an outfield slot and batting ninth. Gallo has lost his ability to contact the baseball with the barrel of his bat. Or, with any other part of his bat. Joey, a nice guy, can no longer help the Yankees win a championship though he can play a powerful role in preventing them from winning one.

The befuddled Joey Gallo is a rally killer

Mandel’s Musings: The NBA, Detached From Reality, Has Turned Into A Twilight Zone

by Scott Mandel

The NBA, which is no longer a sports league but IS a Twilight Zone episode, has lost its footing and sense of reality.

The game, itself, has become mostly unwatchable during the regular season save for the last eight minutes of games when players try to play some defense and rebound.

The inmates, people like Kevin Durant, James Harden, Kyrie Irving, and LeBron James lord over how their teams operate, from how they are marketed to what style they choose to play on the court. NBA coaches are irrelevant. They are camp counselors.

Players with full, legal, notarized contracts to play ball decide on a whim when they don’t feel up to playing on any number of given nights.

Kevin Durant is on his way out of Brooklyn

The players have taken the notion of not showing up to play games to the Nth degree. The stars, who by some megalomaniacal thinking somehow believe the league cannot exist without them, have now doubled down on their power by deciding when they no longer want to be associated with a franchise, despite having ironclad contracts which require them to play, and, where they along with their agents have decided which markets will be their next destinations. The crazy part? Teams acquiesce and trade the player to a new team, with the previous team typically getting far less value in return.

At the moment, Kyrie Irving, in the middle of his contract with the Brooklyn Nets, and his agent are negotiating with the Los Angeles Lakers. Who would the Nets receive in return? Russell Westbrook. Russell Westbrook has not been what he used to be for several years now. He’s on his last legs. But who cares about the Brooklyn Nets, right? Or their fans.

Kevin Durant just told the Nets he will accept a trade to Phoenix or Miami. Sure, and I’ll take that oceanfront mansion on St. Barts. Except, Kevin Durant will get his way. I’ll have to work a little harder for that mansion. And I may have to settle for Anguilla.

All of this nonsense is leading to the destruction of franchises, a league top-heavy with prima donna superstars who command most of the salary base of their respective teams but who could care less about showing up and playing for a city and a loyal fan base, whose ticket-buying support pays his exorbitant salary.

And, it’s not just the players who are the nut jobs in this Rod Serling production. Owners are paying millions of dollars to unreliable players like the talented Zion Williamson, a 22-year old who has played in a third of his team’s games since he entered the league three years ago. For that level of consistency, his team just extended his contract to nearly $40 million per season for five more years of not showing up to play. This, after Zion’s “people” have been letting media people know how “interested” Zion is in leaving his New Orleans franchise to play for the Knicks at MSG. The good news for Zion? He can now decide, on a whim, to quit the franchise and demand a trade, without legal repercussions.

Nets fans are expected to support a team that charges 200 to 1000 dollars for good seats to watch a 2022-23 team that will have a roster of players who do not want to be there.

I’ve grown tired of this act. I hope most fan bases in NBA cities feel the same way. Don’t show up for the games, folks. The pendulum can swing the other way, in favor of fans, if you take a moment to NOT show up to watch these guys. With few exceptions, they haven’t earned your trust.